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I am a little torn on this one. I think hitting it longer should absolutely be an advantage. I don't have a particular problem with it being a big advantage. That said, I like the risk-reward concept a lot. To my mind that means that you can hit it short and hit to a wide fairway and be assured of being in the short grass, but you get a worse angle and/or a longer shot into the green. Or you can pound driver into a narrower space (the risk) and get the shorter shot from a better angle (the reward). My impression of 8 at Shinnecock was the longer shot was both wider and gave the better angle, so it's more like reward-reward, not risk-reward.
Jim - there's much I don't know, including the likelihood/frequency of such mishits and who today is the most naturally talented/gifted driver. (They all hit it so far and straight, but my eyes say it's Rory.)
I mentioned the test (besides the lens it provided on technological change) because it brought this to mind:
A great putter, today, would have just as much of an advantage at Augusta as Ben Crenshaw did 30 years ago.
A great game manager/strategist like Tiger in his prime has as much of an advantage now as  Hogan and Nicklaus had in their days.
A great short game magician and bunker/recovery specialist has as much of an advantage at The Open today as Seve and Trevino had in there day. 
BUT -- in terms of driving the ball, the moden technology 'flattens the curve' and mitigates the differences in natural talent and ability more than ever (or so it seems to me). Almost everyone back in the late persimmon era recognized Norman as the best driver -- but his advantage disappeared virtually overnight with the advent of titanium.
I don't know who today is the best/most talented driver in golf - but to get back to Eric's original question, it's ironic that whoever that is he has *less* of an advantage over everyone else than ever before. They *all* hit it long and straight...except for the poor guys who don't

I think the conditions make it very even and likely to be very low scoring. Slow greens, fast fairways, wispy rough and no real wind.

-18, Tyrell Hatton.

Can make a case for any number of players though.
Golf Course Architecture / Re: Likable LUFFNESS NEW GC
« Last post by John Mayhugh on Today at 07:43:46 AM »
Sean,Thanks for the tour. I'm certainly intrigued enough to want to visit there sometime.
You will get a lot better understanding of the course by playing it a second time. Lunch and a treacle tart are also worth sticking around for.
I think you would get better advice on what else to see in the area if you told us where you were coming from and headed to. Near there, Gog Magog looks interesting, though I haven't seen it. However, if you haven't seen Brancaster, go there immediately. Hunstanton is also quite good.

I understand that golf is your priority, but the other thing you might consider doing is spending a few hours in Cambridge and/or Newmarket (especially if you like horse racing).

I think it's easy to nowadays say that Rees' re-works on classic courses were not successful, since trends in GCA have changed and most of those projects are now going in a different direction based on current trends.

Apologies for lifting just a small part of your response but it seems to beg a question.

If Rees Jones' work was trendy then, does anyone foresee his work being restored 50 years from now? Isn't there a timelessness to Ross and other ODG's that's more than just another trend?

This is something I've been wondering for a while. When Rees, Fazio, Jack etc become the ODGs will we start to look on their designs like we do with the current ODGs? Will the manicured look come back into it's own in time? If you look at what was built in Ireland in the 90s/00s  - they love their American type courses even if the tourists want the traditional ones - will that happen in the US?

Personally I think trends change and in time courses will start to revert back to the more manicured look - it does work for Augusta! That's not to knock what Doak/Hanse/Crenshaw et al are doing as I think it looks great but I think Chris hit the spot in his post when he said that Rees built what was successful for his time -  even if that has fallen out of favor today. I don't ever recall anyone saying that Rees's courses were bad back when he was the Open Doctor and if they were, he would't have been successful and hired for those jobs.

On a side I've been involved with Rees for 14+ years as I work (grew-in) one of his courses. He has always been a complete gentleman in his interactions with me. I also got to see first hand his thoughts on design and what he looks for/wants. Prior to that I was led to believe he handed you a plan and that was it; however he (and his guys) actually put a lot of thought into his design and how he wanted it to play. I don't think a lot of people get to see this and it's a shame.

The pic above of 4 at Hollywood shows Rees's philosophy. He liked to give you an open option (like that concept or not) and have the course in front of you. He wasn't a fan of blind shots (unless he had to). His thoughts were to present you with the hole. If you played it straight and safe you were fine but if you didn't you'd then get in trouble. Personally I like that concept - but then again I'm a hacker at best...... The picture above sums that philosophy up - the front is open to invite you in and a hacker like me has a chance whereas the other is very penal unless you're dropping a ball in (although it looks awesome!).

Jim - re the 'tremendous feat'. It is, and the longer hitter should have an advantage. But:
Read the other day about a recent  club test -- the machine/iron byron had a persimmon driver hit the ball 5-8ths of an inch off the sweet spot, and then had the latest 460 cc driver hit them 5-8ths of an inch off the sweetspot. Average distance loss with the modern driver? 6 yards. Average distance loss with the persimmon? 49 yards.
Once upon a time, the longest hitters - Norman, Nicklaus etc -- really *earned* their advantage; and the risks they took for the reward they gained were *significant*. Today not so much.

Peter, this is a strange test, and post. I doubt any of the guys on Tour miss the sweet spot by 5/8 of an inch twice per week...but if they do, itís the Zach Johnson and Ian Poulter type ball strikers.

While Dustin Johnsonís skill in hitting the ball is certainly different than Normanís, and the equipment enables it to be, he has managed to separate himself from the field just as significantly in my opinion.

The difference I think you are seeking is in the method of taking design from construction.

To my knowledge, Rees Jones has never run a bulldozer on one of his projects and I highly doubt getting every hole to drain into the centerline of a hole corridor was marching orders from a client.


I was at a presentation Jim Nagle did the other day for CPGCSA on the relationship between a club and an architect for a successful project. One of his comments that resonated with me was the club deciding on what type of architect they wanted to hire - a dozer operator or a more tradition architect who provides plans and directs the construction. The point was that a good architect doesn't necessarily need to be a good dozer driver and a good dozer operator/shaper doesn't necessarily make a good architect.

I've seen this in the past and had the luxury of fixing the mess from the shaper/architect as he didn't get what was being asked of him (fwiw it wasn't Rees).

So to dismiss any architect because they can't run a dozer is unfair. Ultimately they should be judged on the work that was done.
So many can win since the firm course presents so many options.  Iím hedging my bets and taking Reed (already used him in another pool earlier this year) at -16, I think these guys are gonna light it up but the winner might win going away.  But I like literally EVERYBODY this week. 
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